Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lantern of Hope: An artist-led grassroots effort in support of Barack Obama

Helen Heibert, esteemed papermaker (of Dieu Donne fame) now residing in Portland, Oregon has sent an update on her Lantern of Hope project.

October 13, 2008

Dear Friends,

It has been just 3 weeks since I launched the Lantern of Hope
Project, and there are 3 weeks left until election day. At this half-way point,
there are almost 200 lanterns glowing in 16 states and I’ve donated over $700
to Obama for America. I believe that my dream of lanterns glowing in homes in
all 50 states is still possible, but it will be easier with your help!

I’ve got my old fashioned map of the US with push pins above my
desk, and I’m having fun putting the pins in it. Here are the states that are
covered so far:

Can you tell me if you’ve sent one to a friend in another state, or
are you willing to encourage a friend in one of those states to purchase one
at http://www.enlightenedpapers.etsy.com/?

I have been amazed with the interest in the project, and I’ve been
in touch with many friends, friends of friends and complete strangers. Thanks
for helping to spread the word!

Here are some highlights and fun stories:
The lawyer I talked to about using the Obama logo suggested Jack-O-
Lanterns carved with Obama logos, or in other words, Obama-A-Lanterns. From
what I can gather, this is a theme being spread around the country, so join
in the fun!
Someone found me on facebook and offered to spread “flair” about the
project, so if you are on facebook, check us out at:
A local Portland family is selling bagels for Obama every Saturday
morning. I dropped off some lanterns with her this weekend and was impressed
when I saw the gauge that showed they have raised over $650 by selling
bagels in front of their house!
I went to an Obama fundraiser last week, where the host and hostess
featured the lanterns as door prizes.
A fellow papermaker and professor in Iowa City, Tim Barrett, was
inspired by the idea of lanterns with the Obama logo being illuminated around the
country and decided to encourage his contacts to make their own paper bag
luminaria adorned with Obama logos.
Here are his instructions for making your own “Luminaria” from
simple brown paper bags. And by the way, the first watermarked lanterns I made
twelve years ago were inspired by the New Mexican luminaria I saw as a child.

To make your own paper bag luminaria:

Download and print the Obama logo of your choice at


Cut out a circle, square or rectangle as required from a paper bag
and paste the logo over the opening, then add sand and candle (in votive glass
holder for safety), and display in your window every night!
I’m really not that politically involved, but I feel that I’ve
finally found a way to merge my passion (handmade paper) with things I care about.
I see the lanterns first and foremost as a symbol for what Barack Obama
stands for– hope for our country and a willingness to work for change to try
and make the quality of life better for more Americans.
I’ve decided to raise the price of the lanterns for this final push
(there are still a few on the Etsy site for $20 for those of you who click
Your purchase for $25 will yield a donation of $5 to Obama for
America and $5 to the Democratic Party which needs our help, too.
Purchase one now – it isn’t too late. Be part of history, they won’t
be produced after election day. Go to http://www.enlightenedpapers.etsy.com
or make your own lantern.
This coming week, we’ll be working hard to get some press (local and
national TV, radio and newspaper). Let me know if you have any
contacts or suggestions.
When I close my eyes and imagine lights glowing around the country, it
brings a smile to my face and makes me feel warm inside. Thanks so
much for your help with this project. It means a lot to me.

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